Constructively managing conflicts in organizations
Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior
Negotiations, Teamwork, Constructive Conflict, Open-Minded, Mutual Benefit, Cooperation
Researchers have used various concepts to understand the conditions and dynamics by which conflict can be managed constructively. This review proposes that the variety of terms obscures consistent findings that open-minded discussions in which protagonists freely express their own views, listen and understand opposing ones, and then integrate them promote constructive conflict. Studies from several traditions also suggest that mutual benefit relationships are critical antecedents for open-minded discussion. This integration of research findings identifies the skills and relationships that can help managers and employees deal with their increasingly complex conflicts. Research is needed to deepen our understanding of the dynamics of open-minded discussion and the conditions that promote it as well as when open-mindedness is inappropriate. Training studies can test and show how the model of open-minded discussion supported by mutual benefit relationships can be applied in cross-cultural and other challenging settings.
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Tjosvold, D., Wong, A. S. H., & Chen, N. Y. F. (2014). Constructively managing conflicts in organizations. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1, 545-568. doi: 10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091306